Tactical Knives (March '99)


Oct 4, 1998
I have to say that this is one of the most enjoyable issues for me. Steven Dick, IMO, wrote one of his finest commentaries regarding why they don't trash knives. It's a terrific policy IMHO. Of course, I secretly wish I knew who is it that they have thrown into the reject bin. However, there is a saying that I do adhere by, "Wisdom not only comes from what you say or do, but it also comes from what you don't say or do." And in that respect, TK's policy deserves beaucoup kudos.

Again, Butch Winter hit the bullseye on the hot button issue of M2 Steel, and its usage by Benchmade. I know it has answered several questions regarding that steel for me. In fact, I've always loved his no BS, straight-forward attitude in his writing.

Michael Janich does Black Wind swords. You know what's the best part about it? He didn't hold back when he didn't like something. I like that. Of course, I am biased towards anything that's just "strictly tactical". I'm easy that way.

Chuck Karwan writes about the Buck 110 auto conversion. I must've done something right in my past life. This issue is just chock full of great combative knife stuff. Besides, I've always had a soft spot for 110s like to the Balisong. It's hard not to have a deep appreciation for stuff like that.

Bob Kasper does The Knife for Home Defense! If there was ever a topic that pretty much applies to everyone, this is it. I am very interested to see what Kasper comes up with on this one. Only one tiny point I would add to his article is that, while his recommendation of blades is right on the money, I would probably emphasize blade choice more on personal preference and fighting style. Nearest I can tell, there are three basic camps of knife fighters. The first are the small and fast ones as seen in FMAists with Balisongs for example. On the other end of the scale is the big, western, chopping/hacking camp (aka Jim March's Klingon school of knife fighting). Finally, there's the intermediate cartridge camp of knives, who prefers a balance of cutting, stabbing, heft, and speed (and which I belong to in case you're wondering what my personal bias may be). Figure out which camp you belong in. Buy accordingly.

Jerry Vancook does Black Cloud's excellent interpretation of the "tactical Bowie". Oh, I am just loving all this. Extra points for a picture of Jerry hacking away in a Rambo headband. Hehe.

Steven also wrote about British Bayonet. Yet another topic that dealt with knife combatives, but I haven't read it yet because it doesn't really apply to me. But I think my point is clear: This issue is just filled to the brim with tactical knife-related material! And there's more!

Now they've got Hock Hochheim writing about the 10 deadly sins of knife fighting!!! I've always loved Hock's no BS attitude towards knife fighting (though he does seem to self-promote and does a little bit of bashing reminiscent of Marc "Animal" MacYoung). Of course, dealing directly with combatives, this is yet another area I am very critical of. Hock presents a very basic, but very sound set of advice regarding the nature of knife fighting. There's just a few minor things that I see differently. For starters, contrary to his second point, I believe in a perfect knife fighting stance. Mind you that a knife fighting stance is not something that is anywhere near static. But as seen by the "Hollywood stance" of knife fighting, there is indeed such a thing as a BAD knife fighting stance. Like pistol stances, the idea of a knife fighting stance is to attempt to maximize the effectiveness of your agility, mobility, defense, and offense whenever possible. Thankfully, while the title of his second point is misleading, he does elaborate elegantly in the subsequent text.

On a related note, his pictures haven't changed since his book, which shows a Hock with knife hand out, wrist unprotected. To his defense, what the static pictures doesn't show is that he believes in having his hands in constant state of motion, believing that a moving target is harder to hit than a static target. While this may be true, a 'NO' target is harder to hit than a moving target. As already covered in the Tactical Forum, you can move your weapon hand up, down, left, and right while still keeping the wrist close to your body. Why play with fire? For that matter, I believe the weak hand should show some semblance of protecting the neck. While you can move your hands quickly and easily, the neck is not as versatile. And between the neck and the forearm, well, I'd rather not get cut at all. But if I had no choice, I'll take a cut to the forearm any day.

I agree with point #6: "The Cancer Grip". A word of caution however. Like the gangsta' style method of shooting, just because it's not a good way to fight, that doesn't mean we should scoff at it if someone tried to use it on us. (Hey, stop laughing.
) For example, the gangsta' style of shooting indeed CAN work but only under two conditions: Close-quarter combat range, and using low calibers (.22-.32). I've done it myself and have papered all shots offhand within 3". And that's coming from a non-expert. Stupid as it may seem at first, that kind of performance is no laughing matter. The same thing can be said about gripping with the cancer grip. Examples of pain compliance techniques with the Japanese farm tool, the Kunai(?) for example, comes to mind. Yes, there are far better techniques that we should use instead. But they are nonetheless a threat that we need to recognize and not be so ignorant as to say, "Oh, it's stupid. Don't even worry about it." Not to detract his sterling article from my volatile personal comments, those are really good advices on the nature of modern knife fighting.

Anthony Lombardo writes about the incredible CUDA. Truely, I think the opening device deserves every bit of the accolade it has received. Naturally, in my narrow-minded world, I still have some nagging questions about its tactical usage. I mean, let's think about it here. What is it about the opening device that makes it so great over other one-hand openers for utility or even emergency use? The only real obvious advantage, IMHO, is for combative use. Therefore, I would like to see Camillus do a combative interpretation of the CUDA and perhaps call it the BarraCUDA!

Gary Boyd mentions the venerable M3 Trench knife. Chuck Karwan writes another article on the Ka-Bars. Jerry Vancook writes another one on the A/F Covert! Larsen writes on, IMHO, the highly underrated Grecos. And let's not forget about Steven Dick's article on the EDI Genesis. The list just seems to go on and on. Last but not least, yet another great (realstic) story from Eric Johnston on "It Happened to Me!". I think this issue is proof positive that they REALLY have the pulse on the tactical knife community. I applaud them for their tremendous effort. I think they should bronze it. I hope Tactical Knives will continue to provide the same caliber and type of material as this issue in the future.

[This message has been edited by SB (edited 08 December 1998).]
Interesting. Hock Hochheim did a 10 deadly sins article for the last issue of American Survival Guide (or similar type mag).

Sounds identical. Haven't seen this type of article recycling happen in awhile.

SB-excellent review of TK. As a contributor, it pleases me immensely when someone enjoys the magazine.

Regarding TK not "trashing" knives, when TK comes across bad knives, for the most pert they are just not written about. Whens the last time you saw a TK article on Fury, United, Valor, etc etc etc. Most knifemakers that are profiled are makers that are known to be a good value, and deliver product timely, or are leaders in their field.

The CUDA was a fun article for me. Its not very often you come across something that new and different in the knife industry.
IMHO, the CUDA works best for people who need to wear gloves, people with handicaps, or people who have a hard time opening blades with studs, holes, or nail nicks. (females with long nails come to mind).

If Camillus would add a thumb stud to that knife they would increase its versatility.

Joel-as for Hock Hockheim, publishers and editors dont take kindly to article "churning and recycling". I would bet that Steve Dick was very surprised when American Survival Guide ran Hockheims article while his was already at the printers! Oh well, lets see if Hock writes for TK again. Anyone want to take bets?


Anthony P. Lombardo
-will destroy knives for

Anybody besides me notice that the BGs in the ``It Happened to Me`` feature in TK are all wearing leather wrist cuffs and some have headbands JUST LIKE JERRY VAN COOK wears!

Coincidence? I wonder!


Jim Six
Adventure, Intrigue & Cheap Thrills
I just recevied my pre release copy of the great artical done by Bob Kasper on the Stealth Cheyenne. It should appear in the May or June issue according to TK. I will convert it to text to give you guys a preview of the artical as soon as I get better. I have been under the weather (Sick as a damn dog) for the last week.

I think we can all agree that TK does a fine job on their articals and the contributions from their writers is top notch.


Thanks for your great post!

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Lead - Follow or get out of the way!

Mr. Hocheim also had the same article in Inside
Kung Fu a month before ASG. I just consider it
a reminder

I'm a little apprehensive on the Cuda too, I'd
like to be able to open it with the l. hand.

I feel like I may be walking into something here but why hasn't Tactical Knives done a feature article on Mad Dog. I know his early ATAK was mentioned in an article on combat swimmers a couple of years ago and a recent article mentioned his ceramic blades. I don't even own a Mad Dog yet so I am not a closet member of "The Church of the Tactical Truth", just an observant reader of this and the other forum, Tactical Knives, and Blade. I've seen TK write twice about a number of blades/companies (Swiss Army Knives, KaBar's, Randall's, etc.) but nothing on Mad Dog. Can someone enlighten me?